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Jan 6, 2016 5:23 PM

Steinhauser: In exclusive interview with NH1 News, Bush slams Trump over questioning of Cruz

NH1 Political Director -

PORTSMOUTH – Jeb Bush says Donald Trump’s playing games when the Republican presidential front runner raises concerns that Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada could be problematic should the senator from Texas win the GOP nomination.

And in an exclusive interview with NH1 News, Bush also said he was “a little surprised” that Mitt Romney went public this week with the details of a private meeting early in 2015 between the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and Bush.

The former Florida governor spoke with NH1 News the morning after Trump, in an exclusive interview with NH1 News Tuesday night, said he heard that “a couple of states have a problem with” Cruz’s Canadian birth, adding that he hoped it “would not be a reason for disqualification” if Cruz won the GOP nomination.

Read/Watch: Trump targets Cruz in exclusive NH1 News intv.

The Republican presidential front-runner added that “the problem is that if the Democrats bring a lawsuit, the lawsuit could take years to resolve and how do you have a candidate where there’s something over the head the of party.”

Cruz responding Wednesday that “as a legal matter, the question is quite straight forward and settled law that the child of a u-s citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. People will continue to make political noise about it.”

Asked by NH1 News if he saw Trump’s questions as legitimate concerns, Bush said “it’s not an issue. He’s an American citizen. And he’s a capable talented person. This is Donald Trump trying to put everybody into his own reality TV show. I’m not going to play it.”

Bush touts that he’s leading the fight lately against Trump, saying “I’m by myself on this. I just don’t think a conservative party should nominate a non-conservative. Donald Trump isn’t a conservative and he’s not serious candidate.”

Bush spoke with NH1 News on Wednesday morning, hours after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Bush said “this is a serious threat if it was in fact a hydrogen bomb that was tested and it was successfully done and they have the medium and long range missile capabilities, then that is a direct threat to the United States. And as such, we need to take whatever action. Nothing should be taken off the table to protect the United States. Ultimately this requires China’s direct and active involvement because it’s a threat to them as well. And they’ve been reluctant to do it and I think the United States needs to insist on it.”

“The final thing I’d say is one of the options that would certainly be legitimate to consider is stronger sanctions that would have a bite to them, dealing with banking transactions and the like. If we did that I think we could bring about the kind of climate that could restrict the capability of North Korea to act,” he added.

And Bush took another dig at Trump, saying “we just talked about North Korea and the need to deter the potential of a nuclear attack. Well that requires understanding what the nuclear triad is. And in the last debate he had no clue. Literally had no clue about the most important thing a president has to understand and why it’s important for us to refurbish the triad to make sure we have the capability to defend the homeland.”

“He hasn’t sent me, at least, any signal that he’s a serious candidate. He’s a great entertainer. He’s a phenomenal entertainer. And he dominates the news with his outrageous statements. But he’s not a conservative and he hasn’t shown that he’d be a steady commander-in-chief,” he added.

Bush also opened up about Romney making public his critical concerns about Bush from the private meeting the two men held as the former Massachusetts governor was seriously mulling a third White House bid.

Asked why he thought Romney spoke to reporters, Bush said “I don’t know. I don’t know. It was a private meeting. Actually this was just set up prior to his announcement that he was reconsidering whether he was going to run. I wanted to seek out his advice and then in then in the midst of it he made this announcement and it was a good meeting. I don’t need to get into the details. I was a little surprised that it became public.”

But Bush added that Romney’s “a good man. I wish he was president of the United States right now. I admire him greatly.”

Bush once again photo bombs NH1 News

Bush sat down for the interview with NH1 News after he greeting the breakfast crowd at Café Expresso in Portsmouth. The one-time front runner for the nomination’s now in the middle of the field of Republican White House contenders. Asked how he breaks out of the pack with just under five weeks to go until the first-in-the-nation primary, Bush said “I think we break out by doubling down on candidate appearances, doubling down on voter contact efforts, doubling down on going door to door. Phone calls. Using the massive number of volunteers that are going to surge into this state, and making sure that Granite Staters know that I’m all in.”

Bush was joined by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine as he greeted patrons. Collins endorsed Bush this past summer.

Bush was in a playful mood as he made the rounds, and for the third time photo-bombed this reporter.

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